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Yoga

Natural Remedies to get you sleeping soundly with a Restful Sleep Meditation

By | Relaxation, Events, Yoga, Meditation, Nutrition | No Comments

The globe will unite for World Sleep Day® on March 17, 2017 to host activities incorporating the slogan, ‘Sleep Soundly, Nurture Life.’

We all know the story, lying in bed wide awake in the wee hours of the night, unable to sleep and dreading yet another day ahead feeling exhausted and flat.

Just as the sun begins to rise you finally drop off, only to be rudely awoken by the sound of your alarm.

Or do you find it hard to get to sleep, tossing and turning wishing you could just stop thinking and fall into a deep refreshing sleep?

Lack of sleep and associated fatigue seems to be the curse of the modern age.

Adults need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep a night, but insomnia can keep them from getting the sleep they need. With around 1/3 of Australians suffering from a sleep issue of some sort there is no doubt there is plenty of ‘counting sheep’ going on every night around our country.

Just as exercise and nutrition are essential for optimal health and happiness, so is sleep. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight.

Without enough hours of restorative sleep, you won’t be able to work, learn and create at a level even close to your true potential.

If you are struggling to get a good night’s kip, these tips can help get you sleeping more soundly and ready to embrace life again feeling energized and focused. Start getting the sleep you need to boost your energy, efficiency and creativity.

Stay Cool

To drop off we must cool off, literally. The body temperature and the brain’s sleep-wake cycle are closely linked. That’s why hot summer nights can cause a restless sleep. Studies have shown that the optimal conditions for sleep are a slightly cool room and a lower core temperature. So make sure your bedding is appropriate for the time of year, the heating is not switched too high or have a luke warm shower if you are finding it difficult to cool down.

Step Away From Your Phone (iPad, Lap Top, Device…)

That’s right, switch off and unplug! Experts say one of the most alluring sleep distractions is the 24-hour accessibility of the internet. Why? The blue wavelengths produced by your smartphone and other gadgets (and energy-efficient LED light bulbs) significantly suppress the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy, according to University of Basel research. They also keep your mind stimulated and active, making it harder to unwind and sleep.

Breath In, Breath Out, Let it Go…

Relaxation techniques are one of the most effective ways to increase sleep time, fall asleep faster, and feel more rested in the morning. Visualizing a peaceful, tranquil scene and gradually relaxing every muscle in your body can help calm a busy mind or try a short meditation 20 minutes before bed. Meditation sends signals to your sympathetic nervous system’s “fight or flight” response telling it that it’s all right to relax and can help you let go of the worries and problems from your day.

Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath and then reading a book or listening to soothing music. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime carried out away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from the activities of your day.

Enjoy this Restful Sleep Meditation by Joanne Jackett, Chillout Yoga and Meditation Teacher.

 

Nourish your Adrenals

Your stress response, often known as ‘fight or flight response’, is powered by the hormone cortisol – secreted by the adrenal glands. This mechanism is intended to save your life when we are under threat and once the threat passes, return to normal. The problem is that in our busy world prolonged stress can leave our body’s thinking we have a never-ending emergency, the cortisol remains high and adrenal fatigue sets in.

Stress and adrenal function affect sleep, particularly the circadian pattern of cortisol. When we are managing stress effectively, cortisol should rise in the morning to give us energy for the day. By the time we are ready to hit the hay, it should drop, making it easy to fall into a deep, refreshing sleep. However, if it remains elevated at night we find it hard to unwind and slumber, instead feeling slightly wired, edgy and anxious – exactly when we need to find our Zen.

Ultimately you must get sleep if your adrenals are to get stronger. Natural remedies are brilliant at resetting your stress hormone levels and inducing calm in an uptight body. Try taking a mix of herbs such as Withiania, Chamomile, Oats, Rhodiola and Ginseng during the day to keep your body calm then add in the more powerful soporific tonics half an hour before bed. Think Valerian, Zizyphus, Passionflower and Jamaican Dogwood. Of course these need to be prescribed by a qualified Naturopath.

Balance Blood Sugar Levels

Adrenal fatigue may have another outcome in the poor sleep cycle– low blood sugar. Cortisol plays an important role in maintaining blood sugar (glucose) levels around the clock.

However, during adrenal fatigue cortisol levels may not work effectively to maintain blood glucose levels. If your brain detects low blood sugar levels at night it may make it difficult to get to sleep or have you waking in the middle of the night. An internal alarm is set off so you can wake (or get up) and refuel.

Make sure you eat a balanced diet during the day with protein at most meals and a good serve of complex carbohydrates. Skip the simple sugars from sweets and processed foods that cause your blood sugar levels to swing and energy to flag.

Having a healthy snack before bed can help fortify the body’s nighttime energy reserves. Make sure your snack contains protein, unrefined carbohydrate, and high quality fat, such as half a slice of whole grain toast with almond butter, a serve of yoghurt with chopped nuts and blueberries or a slice of cheese on a whole grain cracker.

Food As Medicine

Without doubt what you eat affects how you sleep. One of the keys to a restful night’s sleep is to get your brain calmed rather than revved up. Some foods contribute to restful sleep; other foods keep you awake.

Magnesium

Studies show even being mildly deficient in magnesium can affect your sleep quality. Given one of the major constituents of the adrenal glands is magnesium and we tend to burn through it when under stress, it is a fair assumption to make that a high degree of our population s deficient in this important nutrient. Magnesium comes in a wide range of foods, from nuts and seeds, to leafy greens and grains:

Nuts and seeds – raw almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, walnuts, pumpkin, (pepitas) and sesame seeds.

Green leafy vegetables –kale, silver beet, chard and spinach.

Whole grains – quinoa, wheat, buckwheat and rye are not only high in magnesium but other nutrients too.

Dark Chocolate – feel like a treat? Raw Cacao is also high in magnesium and makes a great guilt free treat. Just don’t eat it too close to bed time, the caffeine can keep you awake!

Tryptophan

Tryptophan is a precursor to the sleep-inducing hormones serotonin and melatonin. This means tryptophan is the raw material that the brain uses to build these relaxing neurotransmitters and will help make you sleepy.

Eating carbohydrates with tryptophan containing foods makes this calming amino acid more available to the brain. So cutting the carbs at night may not be the best thing for someone who is struggling to get a good nights in! Eating a high-protein meal without accompanying carbohydrates may keep you awake, since protein-rich foods also contain the amino acid, tyrosine, which perks up the brain.

Food sources of tryptophan include red meat, dairy products, nuts, seeds, legumes, soybeans and soy products, tuna, shellfish, and turkey. Try having a serve of natural, full cream yoghurt with a handful of nuts mixed before bed to enhance your tryptophan levels naturally.

Exercise

So we all know regular exercise helps promote deep sleep. It helps relieve muscle tension and stress build up in the body. A couple of key points to note are; don’t exercise too late at night. As already mentioned, your body needs to be cool in order to sleep. The increased adrenaline can also make switching off harder. The other key point is to include exercise as a regular part of your daily routine. A recent studied revealed that while long-term exercise does help alleviate insomnia, it needs to be a regular habit. Unfortunately, only exercising once a week or for a short burst will not necessarily induce those nods you are craving.

Get Your Yoga On

A few low-key yoga moves can signal to your brain that slumber is coming. It is also a beautiful way to lower stress levels, calm the mind and relieve the tensions of the day and can be an effective natural sleep remedy. Certain resting and inversion poses can be particularly helpful for combating restlessness and insomnia, especially when practiced in the evening just before turning in. A Harvard study found that daily yoga for eight weeks improved total sleep time and the time it took to fall asleep.

Cut the Caffeine

It is a bit of a vicious cycle. You feel so tired during the day you desperately need a coffee, especially mid afternoon, to keep you going. Then that night, although you are exhausted, for some reason you just can’t drop off (again). When you are not sleeping well and feeling burnt out you need to nourish and calm your body, not keeping pushing it to fire on all cylinders with caffeine – I always liken it to flogging a dead horse.

Aim to stick to just one, morning caffeinated drink daily (excluding the nasty coke and pepsi drinks) and if you are really struggling with your sleep, it is time to cut it out and switch to chamomile or other herbal teas to stop stressing your adrenals.

That also means no nibbling on dark chocolate after dinner. Caffeine products, such as coffee, tea, colas and chocolate, remain in the body on average from 3 to 5 hours, but they can affect some people up to 12 hours later. Even if you do not think caffeine affects you, it may be disrupting and changing the quality of your sleep. Avoiding caffeine within 6-8 hours of going to bed can help improve sleep quality.

Lose the Booze

Drinking alcohol close to bedtime can lead to a night of restless sleep. Although many people think of alcohol as a sedative, it actually disrupts sleep, causing nighttime awakenings.

To sleep well we need a calm, healthy, well-nourished body.

Step off the merry-go-round and find your Zen.

Wishing you sweet dreams, Lindy

 

Local and Worldwide Wellbeing Event Calendar 2017 – match your workplace event

By | Laughter, Tai Chi, Qigong, Events, Yoga, Meditation, MIndfulness, Nutrition | No Comments

Join in with local and worldwide events, contact us to tailor a session in your workplace.

Month Event Chillout workplace program
Jan New Year Personal sustainability with goal setting
Feb FebFast Energise and Detoxify
Mar World Sleep Day Sleep, fatigue and stress seminar
April World Tai Chi day Tai chi and qigong workshop
May Mindful in May Mindfulness training to increase focus & clarity
June UN International Day of Yoga Simple yoga techniques to improve wellbeing
Jul National Diabetes week I quit sugar seminar
Aug National Relaxation Day Yoga stretching regime for good posture
Sep R U Ok? Day Laughter, Joy, Happiness workshop
Oct National Nutrition Week Superfood talk and tasting
Nov Movember Men’s Health Men’s Health workshop
Dec Xmas Top Nutritionist tips to thrive in the festive season

Mindfulness – pure and simple … continued, by Joanne Jackett, Yoga and Meditation Teacher

By | Yoga, Meditation, MIndfulness | No Comments

Did you manage to STOP then remember to BREATHE?  (refer to Blog below)

Don’t be put off if you didn’t get round to it as often as you wanted to. It is all part of the Practice to just keep on trying.  ‘Keep on keeping on’.

Remember that until you are familiar with the action of STOPPING and you acknowledge that you are actually allowing yourself to stop, then breathe, this next stage can wait even a little longer.

When you do STOP and BREATHE you are being completely Mindful, so you see there is success and progress every step of the way.

So now comes the interesting part.  STILL THE MIND.

I’m sorry to say that rarely, if at all, is the mind completely still. That is not to say that during the process of moving towards stillness there will not be moments or glimpses of stillness. This is where the quality of Patience now comes into it.  Once you begin to recognise the spaces of stillness in between thoughts, you enter a place within yourself, removed from the outer world of distraction and restless thoughts. Be content to rest in that stillness.

Once you are living with the awareness of stopping and breathing and feeling stillness, then the practice of mindfulness can be applied to many situations in everyday life. It is very difficult to be mindful of anything if the mind is racing.

Given the chance, our body and mind is very good at catching on to what serves us well.

So ‘keep on keeping on’.

There are so many techniques and practices given to help arrive at this point of STILLNESS.  My suggestion is not to get overwhelmed by anything that is remotely complicated.  Keep it simple.

You will arrive at that point of stillness if you practice those first two steps.  Practice sincerely and regularly. Once you start it gets easier.

If you are not listening already, try the Relaxation track on my Peaceful Living album (see below)  You can listen free of charge!

Tune in again next week and in the meantime…..enjoy the stillness.

With love Joanne

Mindfulness – pure and simple by Joanne Jackett, Yoga and Meditation Teacher

By | Yoga, MIndfulness | No Comments

It seems that Mindfulness is the answer to just about everything these days.

Well pure and simply….One could say that it is. From personal experience I can say, that with Mindfulness, its not the outer world that we can change, but we do have the potential to change how we are on the inside.

In my yoga classes I focus on mindfulness of every breath, every movement and every thought.

For the mind, just like the body, needs training. Holding these three aspects with gentle awareness, no judgement or criticism opens the way towards self nurturing and returning to balance on all levels. This is the practice, because in real terms that is what you have to do…..Practice.

One of my very early teachers once said to me…”It’s not like taking a pill, you have to work on it, you have to make an effort.”

Finding room for ‘practice’ in your life can seem daunting as the first thing that comes to mind is ‘when am I going to find the time?’

After many years of endeavouring to implement positive changes in my life I can say that transitioning takes willpower and patience. So stay tuned for I have tips for building those qualities too.

Just for now, accept the status of ‘Beginner’, even if you’re not actually a beginner. Allowing yourself to be a beginner is really quite liberating.

I’d like to share three simple steps from the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh.

  1. You Stop       2.   You Breathe     3.   You still your mind

Now remember that you are a ‘Beginner’. For now don’t go beyond Step 1 for a few days.

You  STOP. This is where the willpower and patience comes into it. Its our usual habit to want to move to the next thing. But first you need to feel what it is really like to STOP. It doesn’t matter if you only stop for a few seconds at first, you are planting the seed each time you do it (try 3 or 4 times a day) and your awareness/mindfulness around that action deepens.

As you become aware of your physical stillness the most natural thing then arises…

You BREATHE…… Be MINDFUL of taking 3 to 5 natural breaths just as the body demands.

 Stay tuned for the next instalment. With love from Joanne …  

Try my Relaxation audio recording here or visit www.shraddhayoga.com.au/store/relaxation

……… and remember to RELAX

Mindfulness – Lisa Moor, Yoga, Relaxation & Mindfulness teacher

By | Yoga, Meditation, MIndfulness | No Comments

To celebrate Mindfulness in May we have asked our incredible yoga and mindfulness guru, Lisa Moor to give us a few tips on simple techniques to live more mindfully and bring some peace and tranquility into our daily lives.

Lisa was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in her teens and, faced with the prospect of being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, she embarked on a journey of self-healing and this led her to yoga, relaxation and meditation.

Lisa trained at Gita International, one of Australia’s longest running yoga schools, where she obtained her diploma in yoga teaching and the teaching of deep relaxation and meditation.

She has also been fortunate enough to study with Mark Breadner, one of Australia’s most prominent yoga teachers, where she obtained her qualification as a Yoga Coach. But her most valuable knowledge has come from self-enquiry and exploration in all fields of health and wellbeing. She has been able to leave behind those years of ill health and lead a vibrant, healthy and positive life. Lisa currently teaches yoga in the Macedon Ranges and takes yoga retreats to Bali each year. She has experience in corporate and children’s yoga as well as holding many workshops in relaxation and sleep as well as yoga in the workplace.

Lisa is currently training with Vidyamala Burch, the founder of Breathworks in the UK to become a certified Mindfulness Based Pain Management and stress reduction teacher. She has attended many mindfulness retreats and trainings and is currently teaching high school students & corporate classes for Mindfulness.

Her mantra for this life is to ‘Smile, breathe and go slow’ Thich Nhat Hahn.

Living Mindfully – Lisa Moor

We are all familiar with being fully engaged in the present moment. It comes very naturally to us when we are doing something we love. This is mindfulness…. fully engaged and present in each moment of our lives. But perhaps it is a little more familiar to you to be anywhere else other than the present moment.

I love this quote from 80 year old Nadine Stair:

“Oh I have had my moments, and if I had to do it over again I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.” 

So how can we remember? How can we be reminded to be here, present and awake to our life unfolding?

1. Informal practice – You can choose something that you usually do on autopilot each day and dedicate mindfulness to that activity. 

For example when you prepare your favourite drink.:

  • Sit down comfortably.
  • Notice the colour.
  • How does it taste?

 Pay attention from the time the drink first enters your mouth until you are unable to sense the drink in your body.

  • How do you feel?

Your mind will wander many times so just gently bring it back to the experience of enjoying your favourite drink. 

2. Use environmental cues.

  • Traffic lights are a great opportunity to check in with your body and your breath.
  • Scan your body for any tension, letting it go each time you breathe out. You may take this time to notice the sky, the trees the warmth of the sun coming through the window
  • Waiting in line – take 3 conscious breaths. Then just notice what is around you in this moment of your life.
  • Stand up from your desk or stop whatever you are doing every hour. Stretch, breathe, smile, relax. Move gently into the moment. Schedule this mini break into your calendar or phone. 

The more we do this the more we come back to this moment of our lives, the more we strengthen that pathway in our brain. Be gentle with yourself. The mind will resist and wander away from the present moment again and again but the more we practice mindfulness, just like the more we practice anything, the better we become. 

Basic Mindfulness Meditation

Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgement and return to your focus on the breath.

Mindfulness practice can lead to

• Improved wellbeing

• Better physical and mental health

• Stress reduction

Enjoy this moment……

Warmly

Lisa Moor

https://www.facebook.com/lisamooryoga/

Personal Sustainability for Mental Health, by Lindy Cook

By | Yoga, Meditation, MIndfulness, Nutrition | No Comments

One in five Australians will experience mental illness this year and it is an issue many workplaces are now taking very seriously.

In 2015, Mental Health Week will run from Sunday 4th to Saturday 10th October. World Mental Health Day is marked every year on the same date, 10th of October. The week aims to raise awareness and understanding of the issues facing so many.  Anyone can get involved, all you need is an interest in your own good health and wellbeing.

We all have a role to play in looking after our mental health – eating a nourishing, balanced diet, exercising, getting adequate rest and being kind to yourself and those around you. These all sound good, but in reality they often get forgotten in our busy lives.

In the lead up to World Mental Health Day focus on a simple activity that would benefit you – make a mental health promise to yourself. It might be writing  a gratitude journal, walking for half an hour several times per week, cutting your sugar intake,  signing up for yoga, downloading (and using) a mindfulness app or committing to be kind to yourself and your colleagues. Simple actions and intentions can have powerful consequences.

At Corporate Chillout we can visit your workplace and activate, educate and engage your staff in some simple (and sometimes surprising) ways to nurture their physical and mental wellbeing. During Mental Health Week we can also send daily motivational messages directly to your in box. Let us  provide the inspiration for your staff to work on their own personal sustainability.

Nutrition

It’s not just your waist line eating a poor diet can impact upon. Research now suggests that depression and dementia are affected by the quality of our diets. Indeed, studies from countries as diverse as Norway, Spain, Japan, China, England, America and Australia show people whose diets are healthier are less likely to experience depression. Research also shows that people who eat a more unhealthy diet, high in junk foods are at increased risk of depression. Processed foods – high in sugar, fat, salt foods – not only undermine your optimal nutritional status, but impact upon our mental wellbeing.

So, it really is true you are what you eat.  Most people fail to realize that your gut is quite literally your second brain, and actually has the ability to significantly influence your mind, mood and behavior. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and aggression, is found in your intestines, not your brain! So it actually makes perfect sense that eating a healthy diet to nourish your gut flora for optimal serotonin function will have a profound impact on your mood, psychological health, and behaviour. In fact, recent studies have shown foods and drinks rich in probiotics can play a role in curbing social anxiety in young adults.

Aim to include fermented foods in your diet on a regular basis. You can try making some of these foods yourself or visit your local health food store, they generally to stock a large range. It won’t just be your digestive system that reaps the rewards.

Fermented Foods

–          Sauerkraut

–          Kombucha

–          Tempeh

–          Kefir

–          Pickles

–          Natural Yoghurt and Coconut Yoghurt

–          Miso

–          Kimchi

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment. By focusing on the here and now, many people find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem, and are better able to form deep connections with others.

Basic mindfulness meditation – Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra.

Meditation and Yoga

Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on our body. By encouraging relaxation, it helps to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This has many related benefits including lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia. Yoga helps us to focus on the present, to become more aware and to help create mind/body health. It opens the way to improved concentration, coordination, reaction time and memory. The meditative aspects of yoga help many to reach a deeper, more satisfying place in their lives.

Relax in the park, by Joanne Jackett, Yoga and Meditation Teacher

By | Yoga, Meditation, MIndfulness | No Comments

The team here at Corporate Chillout are very happy to once again be selected to be part of the City of Port Phillip’s Summer program. I will be teaching the progressive relaxation classes to local residents.

If you’d like to join me, registration for the 2016 Leisure and Lifestyle Program is NOW OPEN. 

All activities are free of charge and only on offer to local Port Phillip residents.

Progressive Relaxation

Classes suitable for all ages and abilities.

Day/Time: Friday 10:00am – 11:00am 

Dates: 5 – 26 February 2016

Location: Edwards Park, Port Melbourne 

Number of Sessions Per Participant: 4 sessions

To register, please download the program application below and email to: helpsportandrec@portphillip.vic.gov.au

Progressive Relaxation Participant Registration Form – (PDF 375)

If you’d like to sample my recordings and find out about classes, visit: http://www.shraddhayoga.com.au/store/

To find out about City of Port Phillip programs, such as beach volleyball, sailing and more visit: http://www.portphillip.vic.gov.au/leisure-lifestyles-program.htm